Mekong River Facts

Here are some facts about the Mekong River.

  • The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world. It is about 2,700 miles long.
  • Its source is the Lasagongma Spring in Mount Guozongmucha in the Tibetan Plateau, and its mouth is the Mekong Delta (South China Sea).

  •  The Mekong River is known by many names. It is called Lancang Jiang (meaning Turbulent River) by the Chinese, Mae Nam Kong (meaning Mother Water) by the Lao and Thai, and Cuu Long (meaning Nine Dragons) by the Vietnamese.
  •  The Mekong River flows through China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Mekong River
Mekong River (Source)
  •  Cambodians heavily rely on the Mekong River for their food supply and livelihood. Almost 80% of the protein intake of Cambodia is dependent on the fish caught from the Mekong River.
  •  The Vietnamese people rely on the Mekong River for almost half the water used to irrigate their crops.
  •  The Mekong River serves as a significant transport channel for the Vietnamese people. It is also a trading centre; as the Vietnamese hold their floating markets on the river.
  •  About 60 million people live in the Mekong River basin.
  •  Laos is planning on building a hydroelectric dam on the Mekong River. This has been highly controversial due to its possible effect on the river’s ecosystems.
  •  The Irrawaddy Dolphin, an endangered species, can be found in the Mekong River, and it is also home to the giant river carp (often over a metre long), the Mekong Freshwater Stingray, the smooth-coated otter and the Siamese Crocodile.
  • Construction of the Myanmar-Laos Friendship Bridge began in 2013 and there are several Thai-Lao Freindship Bridges. These bridges span the Mekong River in places where the river acts as an international border.
  • In 1540, Antonio de Faria, a Portuguese man, was the first person from Europe to see the Mekong River.

What next? Discover more river facts by visiting our rivers resources page.